In 2022, the BORDERSCAPE Project based at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures Polish Academy of Sciences established a collaboration with the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project AKAP, currently a joint venture between the University of Bologna and Yale University. The BORDERSCAPE Project investigates how the state formation in Egypt impacted and transformed the socio-spatial landscape of the First Nile Cataract region during the fourth and third millennia BCE. The collaboration with AKAP provided the project with unprecedented unpublished archival data and the opportunity to join the fieldwork in Aswan. During the 2022 field season, investigation activities centred on the west bank of the Nile north of Aswan, comprising a geoarchaeological survey, excavation of selected sites dated to the fourth millennium BCE, material analysis, and rock art documentation. The talk will present an overview of previous work by AKAP, a rationnel of the BORDERSCAPE Project and an outline of the past season’s results. It will particularly focus on an exceptional funerary monument discovered on the plateau overlooking the valley of Nag el-Hamdulab, famous for the Dynasty Zero royal rock art cycle. It is probably the resting place of desert mobile elite individuals. Some objects recovered there, mainly pottery but also jewelry, suggest a strong interplay between those elites and the Egyptian royal power, present at the site and in the region.
Maria Carmela Gatto is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures Polish Academy of Sciences and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History. She is the PI of the BORDERSCAPE Project funded by the Norway Grants and the National Science Centre of Poland, the co-director of the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project AKAP, and the Leading Investigator for the Endangered Nomads Project funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation. She is the Section Editor of African Interconnections for the Interdisciplinary Egyptology Journal. Her main research focuses on the later prehistory of Middle and Lower Nile Valley, with regards to the First Cataract region, interregional connections, early forms of power, borderscapes, and pastoralism.